Estrogen is the predominant sex hormone found in women that control the growth of breast, the menstrual cycle, pubic and underarm hair (1). In addition to this, estrogen also regulates cholesterol levels, protects bone health and even affects the brain (2).
Basically, estrogen is a necessary part of a healthy, functioning body for women.
However, few women know that there is such a thing as too much estrogen. In fact, excessive estrogen can increase the risk of some cancers, such as breast cancer.
While it isn’t frequently discussed as a major health concern among women, too much estrogen is actually very common in women, especially around North America, with estrogen dominance affecting 50% of women over 35 in the US (3).
The symptoms of too much estrogen in the body are obvious but are frequently written off as symptom of PMS. If ignored for too long those symptoms can lead to infertility, repeated miscarriages, uterine fibroids and some cancers (4).
Here are some symptoms to look for when considering your own estrogen levels:
- Decreased sex drive (5)
- Irregular menstrual cycles (6)
- Bloating (7)
- Headaches (8)
- Mood Swings (9)
- Cold hands and feet (10)
- Hair loss (11)
- Thyroid dysfunction (12)
- Sluggish metabolism (13)
- Fatigue (14)
- Trouble sleeping (15)
- PMS (16)
If you find yourself experiencing more than half of these symptoms, you may want to consider an estrogen detox diet. In addition to achieving healthy estrogen levels, you will also experience clearer skin and weight loss by indulging in more of the following foods:
Incorporating more cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bok choy, spinach, collard greens and cabbage can help boost overall health and lower estrogen levels. Piling on the kale and getting in that green juice will help increase your intake of a compound called indole-r-carbinol (I3C), which helps flush out excess estrogen in the liver. (17)
Rosemary, especially used in the form of an essential oil, is a great tool in combating estrogen dominance. Also known as the “fertility oil”, rosemary oil can help soothe inflammation and blockages when rubbed over the hips (18). Rosemary can also be used to increase blood flow to the brain, help with thyroid function and strengthen your immune system (19).
Flaxseed has over 50 potential applications in the prevention and treatment of disease (20). 2-4 tablespoons per day of ground flaxseed promotes healthy estrogen metabolism. It’s best stored in the fridge as the oils in the seed quickly go rancid at room temperature.
Salmon and Other Fatty Fish
Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and fatty fish, are essential for a healthy immune system. Eat 2-3 servings per week or take a high quality fish oil supplement.
Eating foods rich in fiber and probiotics can help support the removal of estrogen from the body. Include foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. You should also check out how eating one carrot per day can help!